Detroit michigan birth records 1957

They were born and married in Bavaria, Germany, although I have yet to discover their specific place of origin. Johann and Anna Maria would go on to have a total of 10 children, 3 of whom migrated to Buffalo, New York.

So there you have it: a summary of where my ancestors were in the world, and in their lives, in the year But what about your ancestors? Where were they living, and what were they doing? Is there a more interesting year for your family than ? Census population schedule , Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, p.

Urban, 27 October , Vol. He was just an in-law, the husband of my great-great-great-grandaunt, Gertrude Wagner Riel. He was not even a blood relative, much less a direct-line ancestor, and he and Gertrude died without issue, so I cannot hope to find Riel cousins among my DNA matches.

Before I explain what was on the grave marker and why it mattered, let me introduce you to my Wagners and summarize the evidence for their place of origin in Germany up to this point. My great-great-great-grandfather was Henry Wagner, born circa 15 December in Germany. On that census, Henry reported his own date of birth as September , and no baptismal record from Germany has yet been obtained to verify the correct date.

Figure 2: Death certificate for Henry Wagner, 6 February The family can be seen in the census Figure 3 , living in Detroit. Figure 3: Excerpt from the census showing the family of Henry Sr. Henry Wagner Sr. Mary, his wife, was also born circa , and their sons John and August were born circa and , respectively, and were both employed as carpenters. Son-in-law Joseph Riehl was noted to be a blacksmith and he and his wife, Gertrude, were both born about The passenger manifest for Henry Wagner Sr. Figure 4: Passenger manifest of the S.


The manifest shows the family of Henry Wagner, a year-old male farmer from Germany traveling to the U. No trace has yet been discovered in U. This suggests one of two possibilities: either a Henry Wagner Jr. Since she was separated from the family on the manifest, the possibility existed that perhaps Henry Jr. However, all pages of the manifest were checked and there was no match for a Henry Wagner of the appropriate age.

To examine the possibility that Henry Wagner Jr.


A possible match was discovered Figure 5 , which shows a single Henry Wagner who arrived on the S. General Jacobi on 3 May Figure 5: Excerpt from manifest for the S. General Jacobi , arrived in New York on 3 May His age suggests a birth year of , and his occupation, carpenter, matches the occupation reported for John and August Wagner on the census.

And his destination, Buffalo, is somewhat problematic, since the Wagner family was not known to live in Buffalo. If b is correct, we should expect to find evidence of a German immigrant named Henry Wagner who matches this passenger, living in Buffalo or thereabouts. Accordingly, census records for Buffalo, New York and adjacent counties were checked, and there is evidence of a Henry Wagner , born in Germany circa , who arrived in the U.

This suggests that perhaps the Henry Wagner who arrived on the General Jacobi is not my Henry after all.

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Detroit Free Press - Historical Newspapers

But with such a common name, we may never know for certain. In this case, as it often happens, church records proved to be very helpful. As noted on his death record Figure 2 Henry Wagner Jr. Both of them were baptized at Old St. All names in this record are written in Latin. The territory was also known as Hesse-Cassel or Hesse-Kassel. Fast-forward now to last weekend, when I had the opportunity to visit Detroit and present two lectures for the Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan at their annual fall seminar.

While in Detroit, I was able to visit Mt. Elliott Cemetery in person. This cemetery is the final resting place of all my immigrant Wagners, as well as some of their descendants, so I was eager to get some photographs. The other monument is for Gertrude and Joseph Rhiel sic.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I was pleased to find this monument, but not overly excited about it, until I got home and took a closer look at the inscription on it. One person in a village would decide to move and settle in a new area, and he would be followed by others from the same village — a phenomenon known as chain migration. After Mass, I had the good fortune to chat with Randy Bowers, operations manager and archivist at the parish. He gave me a draft of a parish history by John D. There is also a great deal more research that can be done to document the Wagners in Detroit, especially in church records.

Unfortunately, I had no time during this visit to utilize the vast genealogical resources of the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library, so that research remains on my to-do list for the time being. But in retrospect, it turns out that he was a pretty interesting guy after all. Little, The History of Old St. One of the most persistent myths in American culture is that our family surnames were changed at Ellis Island.

Immigration Records

Just how ingrained is this myth? Well, when my younger two children were in 5th grade, their school included an Ellis Island simulation as part of a learning module on immigration.

Although I applaud the idea of an immigration learning module and think that the Ellis Island Day simulation is a fun way for the kids to experience what the process might have been like, I found this particular element of the simulation to be appalling since it reinforces the very myth that so many of us genealogists have tried to dispel. One of my favorite articles that debunks the Ellis Island Name Change myth is this one , 1 and one of my favorite passages from that article is this:.

The idea that names were changed at Ellis Island raises lots of questions. For instance, if names were changed, what happened to the paperwork? And if inspectors were charged with changing names, why are there no records of this? Where are the lists of approved names? Where are the first hand accounts, of inspectors and immigrants? If immigrants had name changes forced upon them, why did they not simply change their name back when they entered the country?

Or, if they could not, where is paperwork describing the roles of Federal officials charged with making sure that names were not changed back? It underscores the lack of thought that goes into the knee-jerk assertion about those name changes. So what really happened? My maiden name, Roberts, was originally Ruppert.

Michael was my great-great-great-grandfather. In , Georg traveled to the U. When it comes to the myth, the main idea seems to be that the name change resulted from something the immigrants were told by someone in an official capacity when they entered the U.

United States Marriage Documents & Divorce Records at

So, my ancestors were Ruppert in Germany, and a reasonable misspelling thereof was recorded on their passenger manifest. What happened in the U.

Part 6: Where to Find These Records

By , the family had settled in Detroit, Michigan and had already begun using the name Roberts, as evident from the U. Census Figure 3.